In a world of social media, websites, blogs, case studies and whitepapers, today‘s businesses are driven by content. More than ever, Content is King. Customers want to be able to research and understand your offerings, and if your competitor‘s website offers the information they are looking for, this will put you at a serious disadvantage in the initial sales process. But beyond the early stages- different types of content are required at each point of the sales process. Every organization should have a strategy to ensure they have what they need to move prospects from initial interest all the way through to closure, and even beyond. Once prospects become customers you will need to continue your communication and education efforts, but in different ways.
Below is some of the content as outlined by Pragmatic Marketing that is required for each step of the sales cycle:
In this phase, buyers are just beginning to learn about the issue or problem and will be seeking more information on particular topics or pain points. Content addressing this market should focus on building awareness around the consequences for staying with the status quo and defining how experts would solve the issue. For this, blogs, tweets, newsletters, and industry and analyst articles are useful tools in the content marketing mix.
This phase addresses possible solutions. Now that the problem has been defined- buyers want to know more about what their options are for solving it. This is where you need to make your audience aware of your specific solutions and why they are better than an alternate approach. For the &lsqio;scope‘ phase, best practices guides, FAQs, position papers and partner testimonials are all helpful in moving the prospect to the next stage.
The evaluation process is about understanding specific solutions and how they will solve the buyer‘s problems. Does it fit their requirements? How much work will it take to support? Prospects also want to know how your solution compares to the competition, and what the costs are. For this phase, customer case studies, ROI and technical whitepapers, webinars and customer trials are tools that are very valuable.
For this final stage, prospects want more details, along with validation and reassurance, asking questions like: &lsqio;Would other customers recommend them? Do I trust, know and like the company, and can they be a long-term partner?‘ This is when companies need to highlight benefits and satisfied customers, and provide customer testimonials, proposals and pricing.
By putting in place a strong content strategy, your sales team will be better equipped to move prospects through the sales cycle more quickly, and with fewer obstacles.